Do you have one of those sisters that just continually challenges you? Mine is Taylor Holcombe. We met as freshmen in college and immediately became the best of friends. We were both in relationships, which moved to singleness, which moved to boy craziness, which moved into marriage for me, and continued singleness for her.
Over the last four years, I have watched the Lord work in her in such a way that makes me wonder if I might have the same kind of attitude if I were in her shoes. If I were watching my closest friends get married around me. If God was making me wait for Austin.
Last year, she began studying Ruth, and through that, God challenged me to study it too. So here we are, my friends.
This passage of scripture highlights exactly what she explained God taught her as she studied…
It reminds us that we are to live like Ruth when the world tells us we should be searching for Boaz.
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And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field, and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter” She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.”
(Ruth 2:2, 7 ESV)
*This post is loosely based on John Piper’s 1984 Sermon, Ruth: Under the Wings of God
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Ruth was under the assumption that she would never marry again. She chose to take care of her mother-in-law rather than look for someone to take care of her. She chose to humble herself and ask for lowly work rather than assume she deserved the highest position. She chose to work long and hard rather than do the bare minimum. She set her eyes on the path God called her to. Yes, God provided her with a man eventually, but not before he refined her into a woman after His own heart first.
We choose to care for those we already have.
Reminder: Ruth gave up her familiar life to care for Naomi last chapter. Now, she is choosing to take on a roll that she has likely never had to take on before: a physical laborer.
Her priority is that this woman that God has placed in her life would be cared for.
Christian girls. I know. I know the season of waiting for a Godly man to enter your life. We tend to feel that pressure younger than most because we are watching others find it young. You feel that every where you look, you get let down. You feel alone. You worry that it will be you who is called to singleness. You don’t tell anyone that its your struggle because you might look weak or ungrateful. Can I tell you the quickest way to rid yourself of this continual obsession with “your Boaz?” Immerse yourself in the people you have now.
Spend time learning to emulate the qualities you most love in your mom. Disciple a young believer. Ask an older woman to walk through scripture with you. Disciple a young believer. Care for orphans and widows. Disciple a young believer, disciple a young believer, disciple a young believer!
Even if you are in what you think is the relationship, use this beautifully valuable time to pour into yourself into women around you.
We choose to humble ourselves to God’s plan.
Now when Ruth does choose to take the initiative and care for Naomi in a very physical sense, she does not go around demanding to be given work. She does not become self-righteous in her choice to live a God-glorifying, people-serving single life. She doesn’t assume she will be given anything. To quote John Piper, “She does not presume the right even to glean. All she wants to do is gather up the leftovers after the reapers are done and she asks permission even to do that. She is like another foreign woman who came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs,’ to which Jesus responded by extolling her faith.”
Let us not grow arrogant in the position God has placed us. Whether it is marriage, singleness, dating, our attitude has to be a head bowed, ‘please Lord’ kind of attitude. It is a recognition that He has the power, He deserves the power, and that power is for our good.
We choose to work hard in the season we have been placed.
Verse 7 continues to suggest that she worked from the beginning to the end of the day without much rest.
Ladies, I fear that we are growing weary of work. I fear that our “Go to college to get an MRS degree” attitude is keeping us from glorifying a God who has so much in store for each of us. Trust me, I have to seriously watch myself when it comes to this. My inclination is to let my husband “lead” and by lead, I mean take the initiative. Oh how I am missing some of the greatest rewards when I do this. I am missing the joy of seeing others benefit from the labor He has called me to.
This labor is not necessarily physical work. It could be. It could also be tireless kingdom work. It could be work in the home. It could be volunteering to care for a widow in your area. It could be discipling a young woman. It is whatever He is calling us to that we are either too prideful or too scared to take part in.
Often in our waiting for whatever reward we think we will get, we grow increasingly weary of work. I talk on the phone with my Grandma every weekday morning (Hi Grandma!). This morning she said something that struck me. She was telling me that they have prayer meeting in their home every Monday. Sometime they have seven or eight people, and sometimes none come. Her wish is that the entire basement would be filled to the brim. “But we will keep going either way.”
We choose to recognize that a Boaz is still good–in God’s timing.
Boaz was Ruth’s reward. There is no getting around that. She was obedient, she was caring, she was humble, she was hard-working, and she was rewarded with someone who would be all that and more for her. As Piper puts it, “Boaz was a God-Saturated man.” His bloodline allowed Ruth to stay in her husband’s line. He had money to support her. He loved God. He was everything we fantasize about. But Ruth had to go through a lot before God gave her this man. She lost everything. She physically labored. She lived in the lowliest of states.
Boaz was a good gift. He was the kind of Godly man we should strive to find in a husband. Yet when our eyes are set upon Boaz, we forget to live out the qualities God has called us to. Friends, those are the exact qualities that God used to draw Boaz toward Ruth. He noticed those things because her eyes were set upon a God and a lifestyle that she didn’t have to follow.
Here’s the best part. All these things are an exact reflection of Jesus. They are direct ways we can obediently be a woman after His heart.
We care for the lowly. Just as Jesus did. He made the widows, the sinners, and the crippled his first priority.
We humble ourself in the hard stuff. Just as Jesus did. He came down and lived a humble life of carpentry and teaching when He could have stayed on His heavenly throne.
We work hard in our calling. Just as Jesus did. He walked the earth in ministry for three years, being spat upon and scorned. He refrained from complaint when He was being beaten.
He did all this that we might have freedom in Him.
So in our freedom, let us not set our eyes upon any standard the world sets upon us. Let us set our eyes upon a King who calls us into a life set apart by Him. Let us live like Ruth when the world–often the Christian world–tells us to search for Boaz. Boaz is awesome. I’ve got one of my own.
But let me tell ya, sis. Jesus is much better.